Though it is September, summer is still with us in full force. I occasionally hear tall tales of areas already cooling down, but I’m not sure I believe this. Long hot days are draining and air conditioning can only do so much. Is it any wonder that hotter regions of the world, like Greece, have traditionally taken a mid-day break? But once the break is over, there is no substitute for a cool pick-me-up with a kick to get you through the rest of the day.
Along with so many other things, it is a Greek you can thank for inventing the whipped iced-coffee so many people love. It came about mostly for the same reason as iced tea: trying to sell a hot drink on a hot day didn’t go so well. Who knew? The inventor, Dimitris Vakendios, called his concoction “frappé”, a French word describing that the drink was made by shaking the coffee with ice. (When the weather demands something hot, go for a Greek Coffee instead!)
The recipe is easy, and the quantities of everything can be varied according to taste. The only thing that is a must is the foamy texture of your final product. You will be mocked mercilessly by any self-respecting Greek if your frappé doesn’t have it. If for whatever reason you don’t get that foam, just drink it quickly and no one will be the wiser!
- 1 ½ tsp instant coffee (all Greeks use Nescafe Classic)
- 1 tsp sugar (optional)
- Evaporated milk (optional)
Put sugar and instant coffee into your glass. Add about 2 Tbsp of water. Using a hand-held electric milk frother, whip the liquid until it is completely turned into foam. I find it best to start at the bottom of the liquid and then draw the frother upwards as foam begins to form.
If you don’t have a frother you can get one of these, or plan to make your drink in a shaker to get it to that foamy consistency.
Add ice to your glass, a drizzle or so of the evaporated milk, then top off with water. You don’t want to use too much water otherwise your drink will be too diluted. Just enough to make it drinkable.
When serving to others it is customary to not stir the drink, but to let them do it. My mom will also want a straw if she’s over. Just letting you know. If it isn’t too hot and/or humid, I will insist we sit outside, preferable with an ocean view (or a kiddie-pool, whatever you’ve got on hand).